JUNE 17, 2017

Erin Hills’s fescue is tall grass that has been dubbed by locals as “Tick central,” and even though Jimmy Walker returned to competitive golf after a month off to recover from Lyme Disease, he wore long pants and bug repellent in anticipation of the potential for ticks.

2003 champion, Jim Furyk, was also worried as he’s seen first hand what can happen with Lyme Disease as his agent contracted it and was ill for nearly a year, even after a quick diagnosis.

Dr. John Oertle, a Lyme disease specialist at Envita Medical Center in Scottsdale, Ariz., said diagnosing and treating the disease was a challenge because it progresses in stages, produces symptoms that mimic other disorders and can affect many parts of the body, including the heart, liver, brain and central nervous system.

“It becomes this downward spiral,’ Oertle said in a telephone interview, adding, ‘It can become almost a deterioration of the body from the inside out.”

Walker has been approached by players who suspect they might have Lyme disease.

A tournament volunteer, who said he had struggled with the infection for six years, cornered Walker in the locker room one day to thank him for speaking out about Lyme disease.

While Walker didn’t make the cut, he was just happy to get through 18 holes.

Watch out for tall grass.

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